7 Common Things That General Contractors Skimp On With Florida Cookie Cutter Homes And Why It’s Best To Do Your Own Thing

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

I moved to Florida recently and bought a home that needed a fair amount of renovation. It’s been an amazing process and I have loved every minute of it. Well, let me be honest, not every minute of it because building and renovating can be tough, but it’s rewarding fun and I now have a beautiful home.

When building, you can choose to do your own thing or go for one of those Florida cookie cutter homes. I would be very wary of a cookie cutter home for many reasons and I’ll tell you why. Apart from the fact that the homes don’t have much charm, I do know that the general contractors skimp on the finishes. And it’s not just the finishes that they skimp on.

Florida cookie cutter homes are cheap for a reason. They’re built on a large scale, the cookie cutter developers need to get the homes out quickly, they’ve promised a certain price and they can only deliver on time and at the price if they take shortcuts.

A Florida cookie cutter home may look good on first glance but once you’ve lived in it for a while, you’ll notice the flaws. Things can be cheap and nasty and end up costing you a fortune all over again.

With that, below are the seven most skimped on things by cookie-cutter developers in Florida.

1. Heating and insulation

A home should be designed in such a way that it is cool in summer and warm in winter. Ensure that when your home is built or renovated, the roof is sealed, the windows and doors are well sealed and there are no wide gaps underneath doors. Insulation is important to keep the flows of hot and cold air moving.

A well-insulated home means your electricity bill will stay lower too – less need for heating and air con systems. Cookie cutter home developers don’t have your best interests at heart when it comes to temperature or electricity bills and will skimp on heating and insulation.

2. Window frames

A cookie cutter contractor will budget for and choose the cheapest window frames possible. He’ll tell you-you are getting a ‘great deal’ but what you are getting are window frames that don’t close, don’t protect from the heat, or cold, and don’t last.

If you build your own home you can be part of the whole process – discuss the frames, help choose the frames and talk about the various budgets. Again, skimping is bad, you need protection and you don’t want to replace windows.

3. Cabinetry and countertops

Talk to people who bought Florida cookie cutter homes. They will all complain about the same thing. Cupboard doors that don’t close properly and drawers that have already come off hinges. And don’t get them started on their cheap countertops.

A cookie contractor has to finish on time and at a certain price. The only way he can do this is by skimping. I know too many people who’ve been burnt.

4. Cheap Lighting

Lighting is always done at the end of a renovation or build. This is also the time when your cookie cutter home builder has probably gone over budget and is trying to cut costs even more. If you’re not part of the process of choosing lights, you are going to get cheap and nasty light fittings.

And for all you know, have issues with the electrics too. Leave the cookie cutter developers and do things your way. It’s a lot more rewarding and you’ll land up with a great home.

5. A plumber needs to do the plumbing!

Do not let your builder or your plumber take shortcuts! The thing with cookie cutter homes is that they do everything for you from start to finish. You don’t have any control.

Of course, many people love this because it all seems so easy. Beware. The issues you will have afterward when you don’t have a comeback, are horrible. If you are renovating on your own, you employ the plumber, you get references, you chat about your needs, you are in control.

6. Apply some thought to appliances.

Florida cookie cutter homes include appliances. They’ll put in your oven, your stove, the kettle, and so on. Is this appealing to you? Maybe, as you don’t have to run to the store, backward and forwards. But you will get cheap horrible appliances when you go the cookie cutter route.

I know I keep repeating myself but you do not want to replace a kettle six months in, even worse an oven just after a year.

7. Painting

It’s easy to take shortcuts with painting too, both inside and outside. If you do your own painting, whether alone or with a painter, you’re going to choose a good quality paint The weather conditions in Florida can be harsh – the heat, the humidity, and the hurricanes – so look after both your interior and exterior walls. A cookie cutter home developer in Florida is not thinking about the future. He is thinking about the now. Be careful. Do your own!

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why some people will go the cookie cutter route. It’s cheap and seemingly hassle-free. Truthfully, my home renovations and building have NOT cost me a fortune and I have done them on my own with the help of professionals where needed. My home has character, is individual and is STRONG. It’s been well designed, well refurbishes and well fixed up.

So whether you are doing your own building or you’ve employed a contractor – do it properly. Don’t skimp and don’t let any builder skimp on you.

Have you had experiences with cookie cutter homes, good or bad? Share them. It sometimes helps to talk!

About the Author

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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